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Online slot machines are easy to learn and offer a wide variety of themes, payouts and bonus features. However, it’s important to understand how they work before playing them. Misunderstandings about how slots work can be costly and lead to false assumptions that can tarnish the enjoyment of these games.

The most common mistakes made by new players and even more experienced ones can be attributed to lack of knowledge. These mistakes often stem from misunderstandings of how slot machines work and are caused by various sources of misinformation. These misunderstandings range from believing that certain spins of a slot will be hot or cold to thinking that winning and losing streaks are related to the time of day in which a slot is played.

These mistakes can be avoided by educating yourself on how slot machines work and the math that goes behind them. Slots use an RNG (Random Number Generator) to keep results random and are tested by gambling regulators to ensure that they can’t be tampered with.

The first step to understanding how slot machines work is to read the paytables for each game. This will inform you of the minimum and maximum bet amounts as well as other rules that determine payouts. Winning combinations will be displayed in the paytable and usually read from left to right, although many newer slots now award payouts for symbols clustered or grouped together rather than just appearing on one payline.